Multi-tasking Words 2: Like

Like is a very overworked word in the English language! It can do duty as a verb, a noun, an adjective, an adverb, a preposition and working as a verb it has slightly different shades of meaning, depending on how it is us

As a verb: In its most basic senses, ‘to like’ means ‘to enjoy’: He likes ice-cream. I don’t like camping. In this sense it isn’t usually used in a continuous form, but modern usage is starting to allow this: I’m liking what I’ve heard about him so far. When it is followed by the infinitive (eg ‘to go, to sleep) it has the sense of ‘think something is a good thing to do’: I like to go to the supermarket in the evening – it’s much quieter then. He likes to sleep late at the weekend.

As a preposition: When ‘like’ means ‘similar to’, it functions as a preposition. Your coat is just like mine. She’s nothing like her sister. You’re behaving like a spoilt child! This is the same in questions: ‘What’s it like, living in Germany?

As an adjective: ‘like’ can be an adjective in sentences such as: He was rude, and she responded in like manner; it’s a chance to meet people of like mind. This gives rise to the adjective ‘like-minded’: The society gives you a chance to meet like-minded people.

As an adverb: A more modern and informal usage of ‘like’ is as an adverb: I was, like, no way! She just, like, refused to answer any questions.

As a noun: Finally, ‘like’ can function as a noun: You’re not comparing like with like; They are online sellers of tablets, laptops and the like.

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